The Downtown Ithaca Alliance consists of many dedicated workers.

An executive director along with three department directors who are responsible for part-time and full-time employees, seasonal hospitality ambassadors, interns and volunteers work year round to fulfill the needs of Downtown Ithaca.

Gary Ferguson

Executive Director

Gary Ferguson has been the Executive Director of the DIA since 1999. Gary has previous experience with the cities of Lewiston, ME; Dayton, OH; and Grand Junction, CO. He specializes in business attraction and retention, urban design, public policy and strategic planning.

You can email Gary at:

Kris Lewis

Operations Director

Kris Lewis, the former proprietor of Morris’ Men’s Wear, has been the DIA’s Operations Director since 2009.  Kris oversees downtown operations concerning ambassadors, maintenance, and beautification on the Ithaca Commons, as well as government relations and business retention.

You can email Kris at:

Allison Graffin

Marketing Director

Allison joined the DIA in November 2014.  She oversees all the advertising, strategic marketing from concept to creation, and member services for all district members.  Additionally, Allison works with Gary on economic development and grant writing. A longtime Southern Tier resident, Graffin graduated with a degree in advertising and marketing from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI and previously worked as Marketing Director for Ithaca Beer Co. for 6+ years.

You can email Allison at:

Scott Rougeau

Special Events Director

Scott Rougeau joins the DIA after nearly 8 years of working on The Commons, with The Pack ‘N Ship Store.  Scott will be contributing towards special events, festivals, and marketing promotions while assisting the Special Events Director and the Marketing Director of the DIA.

You can email Scott at:

Darlene M. Wilber

Communications Manager | GO ITHACA Research Assistant/ Outreach Coordinator

Darlene comes to Downtown Ithaca with more than 10 years of journalism experience.  She crafts DIA’s press releases, newsletters, and other communications materials and manages Downtown Ithaca’s social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn) feeds. In addition, Darlene organizes the DIA’s business welcoming and recognition ceremonies and completes regional and national research projects. Also, she helped launch GO ITHACA, the community’s transportation benefits program. A Western New York native, Darlene is an avid Bills and Sabres fan.

You can email Darlene at:

Olivia Pastella

Assistant Special Events Director

Olivia joins the DIA team after many years of hands-on event and marketing experience in Ithaca. She assists in community event organizing, festival planning, and the equipment lending program. She graduated from Ithaca College in 2016, fell in love with this town, and has stuck around for the food, hiking, and biking.

You can email Olivia at

Lauren Gabuzzi

GO ITHACA Program Manager

Lauren joined the DIA in the summer of 2019 and serves as the Program Manager for GO ITHACA, Ithaca’s transportation benefits program. She has been putting the pedal to the pavement working hard to create sustainable and affordable transportation options for Ithacans. She has a degree in interdisciplinary studies from Cornell University and a rescue weiner dog named Mopsie.

You can email Lauren at: